A BRAND-NEW cohort of excited teachers who trained in Basingstoke celebrated becoming qualified in a special graduation night.

The glamorous award night saw 24 budding teachers who have just completed their teacher training receive their certificates at the Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Whitchurch.

The newly qualified teachers are this year’s cohort of trainee teachers from The Basingstoke Alliance SCITT’s (BSCITT). BSCITT provides high quality teacher training and mentoring throughout its one-year training programme. Over the last six years they have trained over 150 teachers for schools in and around Basingstoke.

The director of BSCITT Kelly Richens, who has recently joined the team and organised the event, said the venue was the perfect place for the celebration.

She said: “It is just a really lovely venue to celebrate the teachers coming through such a difficult year with Covid-19.”

During the programme, the trainees spend time at two different schools in Hampshire. Kelly, who is extremely proud of the graduates, said this year has been particularly difficult with the country being put into lockdown.

She added: “During the second lockdown they had to start teaching online with children they hadn’t met, so it become very stressful for them and they were just remarkable.

“I am so proud of how my trainees coped with that transition and they have all completed the training and are very happy.”

Kelly, who is trained as a teacher and fell in love with teaching, said her mission when she took the job just a year ago was to train "really happy" teachers who are "passionate" and "confident".

She said: “people say your just a teacher, but you’re not, teachers are everyday heroes that change lives every single day.

“You are not just teaching your subject, you are taking care of your students, you're social workers, you’re a shoulder to cry on and you are always trying to sort out something.”

27-year-old Diana Daley, who has just been training to teach English Language said that she feels glad that she has finally graduated.

She said: “I feel so proud to be qualifying, when I started the course, I felt a bit out of place and you just worry that you made a wrong choice. I am glad that I got over all of those things and I have had so much good feedback throughout my training.”

Diana, who has been teaching at the Aldworth School in Basingstoke said growing up a lot of her positive role models were teachers and she hopes to be just that.

She added: “when I was younger school was the place I went to get away from things at home. It was always the time I look forward to, so to be able to give that same experience to other children is a nice satisfying thing to be able to do.”

Diana has now started her new job as a qualified teacher at The Costello School in Basingstoke.

Former history trainee Billy Turner is extremely proud of everything that he has achieved.

He said: “going from doing one lesson to doing five in a row straight through is a really big journey and I am just really proud to be here.”

Billy hopes to be the head of a department in the future and currently teaches at Furnhill School in Farnborough.

Alex Lake who teaches PE said qualifying is "absolutely fantastic".

He added: “It’s nice to finally have something real, especially over the lockdowns and schools not being open it is really lovely to have something to celebrate the success.”

Alex, who loves teaching children, is currently teaching at a special needs school called Dove House School Academy in Basingstoke.

The trainees who are now fully qualified will start their early career teaching years (ECTS), which will last for two years. Although they will be on their own in a classroom they will still meet with a mentor once a week.